By TED CARTER
The sale of a half ownership in downtown Jackson’s Landmark Center is part of a plan to significantly increase the residential component of a conversion to mixed use for the glass-enclosed office building at Capital and Lamar streets.
Jackson commercial real estate broker Brian Estes said selling Weinstein Nelson Developers LLC of Baton Rouge a stake in the 366,000-square-foot Landmark gives owner Zeev Yochelman co-owners who have converted office buildings to retail/residential elsewhere in Mississippi.
Yochelman, an Israeli attorney, heads an ownership group that bought the vacant former Mississippi headquarters of AT&T at a bargain price reported to be slightly below $2 million, a dramatic decrease from the approximately $14 million the former owners asked for it four years ago.
“They give a little more understanding” of the culture and the ins-and-outs of converting office buildings to residential/retail, said Estes, who is helping the owners to the seven-floor building get it ready and leased.
Weinstein Nelson Developers principals are David Weinstein and J. Dyke Nelson. Their conversions include The 440 on Third mixed-use building at the corner of Third and Main streets in Baton Rouge. The partners turned the former Capital One Bank operations center into a mix of class A office space and apartments. A Matherne’s Supermarket is going in on the ground floor, according to the Weinstein Nelson web site.
With Weinstein Nelson entering the picture, the project’s residential component will likely go from a previously planned 110 units to a new total of 200, Estes said. “They see the opportunity” for that many units, he added.
“They tend to understand our market and the needs of our market.”
Meanwhile, Estes said he is eager for work to begin on the conversion so he can show potential tenants “things are moving.”
“We’ve got some interest brewing with some commercial and office space,” he said.
People who are looking downtown “want to know something is really going to happen with that building,” Estes added.
The plan is still to put commercial and retail on the ground floor, including a bank that can use a vault BankPlus left when it departed several years ago.
Some office uses will go from the second to fourth floor, and possibly the fifth, according to Estes. “It is kind of a moving target,” he said of the office-space component.
Each floor has about 50,000 square feet.
He noted in a previous interview that the Landmark’s rooftop could be converted to a lounge or some other terrace gathering place.
“We’re still going through some architectural look-sees,” he said. “We would like to make use of the roof in some form or fashion…. It is too good a view not to.”